“Alligator Pears”

“Alligator Pears” were once used instead of butter.

avocado aka alligator pearThe first recorded importation into Florida was in 1833, and the first into California in 1871. The war between California and Florida avocado growers has raged since then. Those who like the lower fat content of the Florida fruit—3% compared to 30% of the California fruit—favor its flavor also. Buttery is the word often used to describe the texture of a fully ripe avocado.

In fact, when Key West and the Keys were not connected to the mainland, avocados were used as a butter substitute. Natives called them “Alligator Pears”.

Florida Keys map

Avocados never ripen on a tree. They must fall or be picked. In which case it may take three to eight days for them to be table-ready. Avocado varieties do not come true from seed, as many people hope. They take much longer to fruit than a grafted tree and may only produce a few precious fruit.

(Excerpted from a March 18, 1977 copy of The Miami Herald, found inside a treasured copy of Nixon Smiley’s Florida Gardening Month by Month.)

This entry was posted in Fruit, Plant Use and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.